I was lucky enough to attend the “Writing for Publication Symposium” on Saturday, October 26. Besides the weather feeling more like a New England kind of day in our wonderful capital, Columbia was alive with writers hoping to inspire, improve, and develop their skills. Novice writers from those well published were in attendance and I think they all took something away with them. I know I did. The presenters were knowledgeable and approachable. Each one was more than willing to answer questions and give insight into their area of expertise.
It was also a great opportunity to network with other writers and trade stories. Of course writers have stories, what else are we good for? We have horror stories of mistakes made. We have some that are happy-ever-after (at least until the next book), and some that are just beginning to develop. There is mystery like “What Do I Do Now with My Book?” and suspense like “When Will I Hear Back From a Publisher?” And of course everything in between (although I haven’t heard a good romance story between a writer and her publisher in a long time).
But back to the symposium. Here are just a few gems I picked up: No more vampires. No more zombies (unless you have a really great story to tell). Writers love quiet. They love their isolation. But isolation does not always a writer make. Writers have to remember to get out and experience things and going to workshops and conferences are a great way to do that. And then there is marketing. It is the key to success and totally up to the writer. There is no more PR from the publisher (it’s very rare) and so the author is left to decide their own marketing plan. That plan must include social media. A successful author has to have varies platforms available to them.
I could go on with other things I learned like… most editors’ pet peeves (adverbs, incorrect comma use, passive verbs just to mention a few) or web sites that were suggested to help with just about everything; but there just isn’t enough time. That’s why I hope you will consider attending the 2014 Writers Workshop. It will be filled with this kind of information and more intended to help support writers of all genres. Follow the South Carolina Writers Workshop website to learn about the upcoming conference. And please, your input is valuable so make suggestions about what you would like to see at the conference either to your chapter chairperson or email any Board member.
By Linda Cookingham